Front Page Titles (by Subject) SECTION V: Concerning our Reasonings about Design and Wisdom in the Cause, from the Beauty or Regularity of Effects. - An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue
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SECTION V: Concerning our Reasonings about Design and Wisdom in the Cause, from the Beauty or Regularity of Effects. - Francis Hutcheson, An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue 
An Inquiry into the Original of Our Ideas of Beauty and Virtue in Two Treatises, ed. Wolfgang Leidhold (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2004).
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Concerning our Reasonings about Design and Wisdom in the Cause, from the Beauty or Regularity of Effects.
Sense, Arbitrary in its Author.I. There seems to be no necessary Connection of our pleasing Ideas of Beauty with the Uniformity or Regularity of the Objects, from the Nature of things, ∥1 antecedent∥ to some Constitution of the Author of our Nature, which has made such Forms pleasant to us. Other Minds ∥2 may∥ be so fram’d as to receive no Pleasure from Uniformity; and we actually find that the same regular Forms ∥3 seem not∥ equally to please all the Animals known to us, as shall probably appear ∥4 afterwards∥. Therefore let us make what is the most unfavourable Supposition to the present Argument∥5 , viz.∥ That the Constitution of our Sense so as to approve Uniformity, is merely arbitrary in the Author of our Nature; and that there are an infinity of Tastes or Relishes of Beauty possible; so that it would be impossible to throw together fifty or a hundred Pebbles, which should not make an agreeable Habitation for some Animal or other, and appear beautiful to it. And then it is plain, that from the Perception of Beauty in any one Effect, we should have no reason to conclude Design in the Cause: for a Sense might be so constituted as to be pleas’d with such Irregularity as may be the effect of an undirected Force.* But then, as there are an Infinity of Forms ∥9 possible∥ into which any System may be reduc’d, an Infinity of Places in which Animals may be situated, and an Infinity of Relishes or Senses ∥10 in these Animals∥ is suppos’d possible; that in the immense Spaces any one Animal should by Chance be plac’d in a System agreeable to its Taste, must be improbable as infinite to one at least: And much more unreasonable is it to expect from Chance, that a multitude of Animals agreeing in their Sense of Beauty should obtain agreeable Places.
Undirected Force.II. ∥11 There is also∥ the same Probability, that in any one System of Matter an Undirected Force ∥12 will∥ produce a regular Form, as any one given irregular one, of the same degree of Complication: But still the irregular Forms into which any System may be rang’d, surpass in multitude the Regular, as Infinite does Unity; for what holds in one small System will hold in a Thousand, a Million, a Universe, with more Advantage, viz. that the irregular Forms possible infinitely surpass the Regular. For Instance, the Area of an Inch Square is capable of an Infinity of regular Forms, the Equilateral Triangle, the Square, the Pentagon, Hexagon, Heptagon, &c. but for each one regular Form, there are an Infinity of Irregular, as an Infinity of Scalena for the one equilateral Triangle, an Infinity of Trapezia for the one Square, of irregular Pentagons for the one Regular, and so on: and therefore supposing any one System agitated by undesigning Force, it ∥13 is∥ infinitely more probable that it ∥14 will∥ resolve itself into an irregular Form, than a regular. Thus, that a System of six Parts upon Agitation shall not obtain the Form of a regular Hexagon, is at least infinite to Unity; and the more complex we make the System, the greater is the hazard, from a very obvious Reason.
15 We see this confirm’d by our constant Experience, that Regularity never arises from any undesign’d Force of ours; and from this we conclude, that wherever there is any Regularity in the disposition of a System capable of many other ∥16 Dispositions∥, there must have been Design in the Cause; and the Force of this Evidence increases, according to the Multiplicity of Parts imploy’d.
But this Conclusion is too rash, unless some further Proof be introduc’d; and what leads us into it is this. Men, who have a Sense of Beauty in Regularity, are led generally in all their Arrangements of Bodys to study some kind of Regularity, and seldom ever design Irregularity; ∥17 hence∥ we judge the same of other Beings too, ∥18 viz.∥ that they study Regularity, and presume upon Intention in the Cause wherever we see it, making Irregularity always a Presumption of Want of Design: ∥19 Whereas if other Agents have different Senses of Beauty,∥ or if they have no Sense of it at all, Irregularity may as well be design’d as Regularity. And then let it be observ’d, that in this Case there is just the same reason to conclude Design in the Cause from any one irregular Effect, as from a regular one; for since there are an Infinity of other Forms possible as well as this irre-gular one produc’d, and since to such a Being* void of a Sense of Beauty, all Forms are as to its own Relish indifferent, and all agitated Matter meeting must make some Form or other, and all Forms, upon Supposition that the Force is apply’d by an Agent void of a Sense of Beauty, would equally prove Design; it is plain that no one Form proves it more than another, or can prove it at all; except from a general metaphysical Consideration, ∥21 too subtile to be certain,∥ that there is no proper Agent without Design and Intention, and that every Effect flows from the Intention of some Cause.
Similar Forms by Chance, impossible.III. This however follows from the above ∥22 mention’d∥ Considerations, that supposing a Mass of Matter surpassing a cubick Inch, as infinite of the first Power does Unity, and that this whole Mass were some way determin’d from its own Nature without any Design in a Cause (which perhaps is scarce possible) to resolve itself into ∥23 the solid Content of a cubick Inch∥, and into a prismatick Form whose Base should always be ½ of a square Inch; suppose these Conditions determin’d, and all others left to undirected Force; all ∥24 which∥ we could expect from undirected Force in this Case would be one equilateral Prism, or two perhaps; because there are an Infinity of irregular Prisms possible of the same Base, and solid Content: and when we ∥25 met∥ with many such Prisms, we must probably conclude ∥26 them produc’d by Design,∥ since they are more than could have been expected by the Laws of Hazard.
IV. But if ∥27 this∥ infinite Mass was ∥28 no way∥ determin’d to a prismatick Form, we could only expect from its casual Concourse one Prism of any Kind, since there ∥29 is an Infinity of other Solids∥ into which the Mass might be resolv’d; and if we found any great number of Prisms, we should have ∥30 reason to presume∥ Design: so that in a Mass of Matter as infinite of the first Power, we could not from any Concourse or Agitation expect with any good ground a Body of any given Dimensions or Size, and of any given Form; since of any Dimension there are infinite Forms possible, and of any Form there are an Infinity of Dimensions; and if we found several Bodys of the same Dimension and Form, we should have so much Presumption for Design.
V. There is one trifling Objection which may perhaps arise from the crystallizing of certain Bodys, when the Fluid is evaporated in which they were swimming; for in this we frequently see regular Forms arising, tho there is nothing ∥31 suppos’d in this Affair but an undirected Force of Attraction∥. But to remove this Objection, we need only consider, that we have good Reason to believe, that the smallest Particles of crystalliz’d Bodys have fix’d regular Forms ∥32 given∥ them in the Constitution of Nature; and then it is easy to conceive how their Attractions may produce regular Forms: but unless we suppose some preceding Regularity in the Figures of attracting Bodys, they ∥33 can∥ never form any regular Body at all. And hence we see how improbable it is, that the whole Mass of Matter, not only in this Globe, but in all the fixed Stars known to us by our Eyes or Glasses, were they a thousand times larger than our Astronomers suppose, could in any Concourse have produc’d any Number of similar Bodys Regular or Irregular.
Combinations by Chance, impossible.VI. And let it be here observ’d, that there are many Compositions of Bodys which the smallest Degree of Design could easily effect, which yet we would in vain expect from all the Powers of Chance or undesign’d Force, ∥34 after∥ an Infinity of Rencounters; even supposing a Dissolution of every Form except the regular one, that the Parts might be prepar’d for a new Agitation. Thus, supposing we could expect one equilateral Prism of any given Dimensions should be form’d from undirected Force, in an Infinity of Matter some way determin’d to resolve ∥35 itself∥ into Bodys of a given solid Content, (which is all we could expect, since it is infinite to one after the solid Content is obtain’d, that the Body shall not be Prismatical; and allowing it Prismatical, it is infinite to one that it shall not be Equilateral:) And again, supposing another Infinity of Matter determin’d to resolve itself into Tubes, of Orifices exactly equal to the Bases of the former Prisms, it is again at least as the second Power of Infinite to Unity, that not one of these Tubes shall be both Prismatick and Equiangular; and then if the Tube were thus form’d, so as to be exactly capable of receiving one of the Prisms and no more, it is infinite to one that they shall never meet in infinite Space; and should they meet, it is infinite to one that the Axes of the Prism and Tube shall never happen in the same strait Line; and supposing they did, it is again as infinite to three, that Angle shall not meet Angle, so as to enter. We see then how infinitely improbable it is, “that all the Powers of Chance in infinite Matter, agitated thro infinite Ages, could ever effect this small Composition of a Prism entering a Prismatick Bore; and, that all our hazard for it would at most be but as three is to the third Power of Infinite.” And yet the smallest Design could easily effect it.
VII. May we not then justly count it altogether absurd, and next to an absolute strict Impossibility, “That all the Powers of undirected Force should ever effect such a complex Machine ∥36 as∥ the most imperfect Plant, or the meanest Animal, even in one Instance?” for the Improbability just increases, as the Complication of Mechanism in these natural Bodys surpasses that simple Combination above mention’d.
VIII. Let it be here observ’d, “That the preceding Reasoning from the Frequency of regular Bodys of one Form in the Universe, and from the Combinations of various Bodys, is intirely inde-pendent on any Perception of Beauty; and would equally prove Design in the Cause, altho there were no Being which perceiv’d Beauty in any Form whatsoever:” for it is in short this, “That the recurring of any Effect oftner than the Laws of Hazard ∥37 determine∥, gives Presumption of Design; and, That Combinations which no undesign’d Force could give us reason to expect, must necessarily prove the same; and that with superior probability, as the multitude of Cases in which the contrary ∥38 might∥ happen, surpass all the Cases in which this could happen:” which appears to be in the simplest Cases at least as Infinite ∥39 does∥ Unity. And the frequency of similar irregular Forms, or exact Combinations of them, is an equal Argument of Design in the Cause, since the Similarity, or exact Combinations of irregular Forms, are as little to be expected from all the Powers of undirected Force, as any sort whatsoever.
IX. To bring this nearer to something like a Theorem, altho the Idea of Infinite be troublesome enough to manage in Reasoning. The Powers of Chance, with infinite Matter in infinite Ages, may answer Hazards as the fifth Power of Infinite and no more: thus the Quantity of Matter may be conceiv’d as the third Power of Infinite and no more, the various Degrees of Force may make another Power of Infinite, and the Number of Rencounters may make the fifth. But this last only holds on Supposition, that after every Rencounter there is no Cohesion, but all is dissolv’d again for a new Concourse, except in similar Forms or exact Combinations; which Supposition is entirely groundless, since we see dissimilar Bodys cohering as strongly as any, and rude Masses more than any Combinations. Now to produce any given Body, in a given Place or Situation, and of given Dimensions, or Shape, the Hazards of the contrary are, one Power of Infinite at least to obtain the Place or Situation; when the Situation is obtain’d, the solid Content requires another Power of Infinite to obtain it; the Situation and Solidity obtain’d require, for accomplishing the simplest given Shape, at least the other three Powers of Infinite. For instance, let the Shape be a four-sided Prism or Parallelopiped; that the Surfaces should be Planes requires one Power; that they should be Parallel in this Case, or inclin’d in any given Angle in any other Case, requires another Power of Infinite; and that they should be in any given Ratio to each other, requires at least the third Power: for in each of these Heads there ∥40 is still an Infinity at least∥ of other Cases possible beside the one given. So that all the Powers of Chance could only produce perhaps one Body of every simpler Shape or Size at most, and this is all we could expect: we might expect one Pyramid, or Cube, or Prism perhaps; but when we increase the Conditions requir’d, the Prospect must grow more improbable, as in more complex Figures, and in all Combinations of Bodys, and in similar Species, which we never could reasonably hope from Chance; and therefore where we see them, we must certainly ascribe them to Design.
Combinations of irregular Forms, equally impossible.X. The Combinations of regular Forms, or of irregular ones exactly adapted to each other, require such vast Powers of Infinite to effect them, and the Hazards of the contrary Forms are so infinitely numerous, that all Probability or Possibility of their being accomplish’d by Chance seems quite to vanish. Let us apply the Cases in Art. vi. ∥41 of∥ this Section about the Prism and Tube, to our simplest Machines, such as a pair of Wheels of our ordinary Carriages; each Circular, Spokes equal in length, thickness, shape; the Wheels set Parallel, the Axle-tree fix’d in the Nave of both, and secur’d from coming out at either End: ∥42 Now∥ the Cases in which the contrary might have happen’d from undirected Concourses, were there no more requir’d than what is just now mention’d, must amount in Multitude to a Power of ∥43 Infinite∥ equal to every Circumstance requir’d. What shall we say then of a Plant, a Tree, an Animal, a Man, with such multitudes of adapted Vessels, such Articulations, Insertions of Muscles, Diffusion of Veins, Arterys, Nerves? The Improbability that such Machines ∥44 should be the Effect of Chance, must be near the infinitesimal Power of Infinite to Unity.∥
XI. Further, were all the former Reasoning from Similarity of Forms and Combinations groundless, and could Chance give us ground to expect such Forms, with exact Combination, yet we could only promise ∥45 ourselves∥ one of these Forms among an Infinity of others. When we see then such a multitude of Individuals of a Species, similar to each other in a ∥46 vast∥ number of Parts; and when we see in each Individual, the corresponding Members so exactly ∥47 like∥ each other, what possible room is there left for questioning Design in the Universe? None but the barest Possibility against an inconceivably great Probability, surpassing every thing which is not strict Demonstration.
XII. This Argument, ∥48 as∥ has been already observ’d,* is quite abstracted from any Sense of Beauty in any particular Form; for the exact Similarity of a hundred or a thousand Trapezia, proves Design as well as the Similarity of Squares, since both are equally above all the Powers of undirected Force or Chance∥49 , as the hundredth or thousandth Power of Infinite surpasses Unity;∥ and what is above the Powers of Chance, must give us proportionable Presumption for Design.
Thus, allowing that a Leg, or Arm, or Eye, might have been the Effect of Chance, (which was shewn to be most absurd, and next to absolutely impossible) that it ∥50 would∥ not have a corresponding Leg, Arm, Eye, exactly similar, must be a hazard of a Power of Infinite proportion’d to the Complication of Parts; for in Proportion to this is the multitude of Cases increas’d, in which it would not have a corresponding Member similar: so that allowing twenty or thirty Parts in such a Structure, it would be as the twentieth or thirtieth Power of Infinite to Unity, that the corresponding Part should not be similar. What shall we say then of the similar Forms of a whole Species?
Gross Similarity by Chance, impossible.51XIII. If it be objected, “That natural Bodys are not exactly similar, but only grosly so to our Senses; as that a Vein, an Artery, a Bone is not perhaps exactly similar to its Correspondent in the same Animal, tho it appears so to our Senses, which ∥52 judge only∥ of the Bulk, and do not discern the small constituent Parts; and that in the several Individuals of a Species the Dissimilarity is always sensible, often in the internal Structure, and ∥53 often, nay∥ always in the external Appearance.” To remove this Objection it will be sufficient to shew, “That the multitude of Cases wherein sensible Dissimilitude cou’d have happen’d, are still infinitely more than all the Cases in which sensible Similitude ∥54 might∥;” so that the same Reasoning holds from sensible Similarity, as from the mathematically exact: And again, “That the Cases of gross Dissimilarity do in the same manner surpass the Cases of gross Similarity possible, as infinite does one.”
55XIV. To prove both these Assertions, let us consider a simple Instance. ∥56 Suppose∥ a Trapezium of a foot Square in Area ∥57 should∥ appear grosly similar to another, while no one side differs, by 1/10 of an Inch; or no Angle in one surpasses the corresponding one in the other above ten ∥58 Minutes∥: now this tenth of an Inch is infinitely divisible, as ∥59 are also∥ the ten Minutes, so that the Cases of insensible Dissimilarity under apparent Similarity are really Infinite. But then it is also plain that there are an Infinity of different sensibly dissimilar Trapezia, even of the same Area, ac-cording as we vary a Side by one Tenth, two Tenths, three Tenths, and so on, and ∥60 vary∥ the Angles and another Side so as to keep the Area equal. Now in each of these infinite Degrees of sensible Dissimilitude the several Tenths are infinitely divisible as well as in the first Case; so that the multitude of sensible Dissimilaritys are to the multitude of insensible Dissimilaritys under apparent Resemblance, still as the second Power of Infinite to the first, or as Infinite to Unity. And then how vastly greater must the Multitude be, of all possible sensible Dissimilaritys in such complex Bodys as Legs, Arms, Eyes, Arterys, Veins, Skeletons?
61XV. As to the Dissimilaritys of Animals of the same Species, it is in the same manner plain, that the possible Cases of gross Dissimilarity are Infinite; and then every Case of gross Dissimilarity contains also all the Cases of insensible Dissimilarity. Thus, if we would count all Animals of a Species grosly similar, while there was no Limb which in Length or Diameter did exceed the ordinary Shape by above a third of the Head; it is plain that there are an Infinity of ∥62 gross∥ Dissimilaritys possible, and then in each of these Cases of gross Dissimilarity, there are an Infinity of Cases of nicer Dissimilarity, since 1/3 of the Head may be infinitely divided. To take a low but easy Instance; two Cockle-Shells which fitted each other naturally, may have an Infinity of insensible Differences, but still there are an Infinity of possible sensible Differences; and then in any one of the sensibly different Forms, there may be the same Infinity of insensible Differences beside the sensible one: So that still the hazard for even gross Similarity from Chance is Infinite to one, and this always increases by a Power of Infinite for every distinct Member of the Animal, in which even gross Similarity is retain’d; since the Addition of every Member or Part to a complex Machine, makes a new Infinity of Cases, in which sensible Dissimilarity may happen; and this Infinity combin’d with the infinite Cases of the former Parts, raises the Hazard by a Power of Infinite.
Now this may sufficiently shew us the Absurdity of the Cartesian or Epicurean Hypothesis, even granting their Postulatum of undirected Force impress’d on infinite Matter; and seems almost a Demonstration of Design in the Universe.
63XVI. One Objection ∥64 more∥ remains to be remov’d, viz. “That some imagine, this Argument may hold better à Priori than à Posteriori; that is, we have better Reason to believe, when we see a Cause about to act, without Knowledge, that he will not attain any given, or desir’d End; than we have on the other hand to believe, when we see ∥65 the∥ End actually attain’d, that he acted with Knowledge: Thus, say they, when a ∥66 particular Person∥ is about to draw a Ticket in a Lottery, where there is but one Prize to a thousand Blanks, it is highly probable that he shall draw a Blank; but suppose we have seen him actually draw for himself the Prize, we have no ground to conclude that he had Knowledge or Art to accomplish this End.” But the Answer is obvious: In such Contrivances we generally have, from the very Circumstances of the Lottery, very strong moral Arguments, which almost demonstrate that Art can have no place; so that a Probability of a ∥67 thousand to one∥, ∥68 does∥ not surmount those Arguments: But let the Probability be increas’d, and it will soon surmount ∥69 all∥ Arguments to the contrary. For instance, If we saw a Man ten times successively draw Prizes, in a Lottery where there were but ten Prizes to ten thousand Blanks, I fancy few would question whether he us’d Art or not: much less would we imagine it were Chance, if we saw a Man draw for his own Gain successively a hundred, or a thousand Prizes, from among a proportionably greater number of Blanks. Now in the Works of Nature the Case is entirely different: we have not the least Argument against Art or Design. An intelligent Cause is surely at least as probable a Notion as Chance, general Force, Conatus ad Motum, or the Clinamen Principiorum, to account for any Effect whatsoever: And then all the Regularity, Combinations, Similaritys of Species, are so many Demonstrations, that there was Design and Intelligence in the Cause of this Universe: Whereas in fair Lotterys, all ∥70 Art∥ in drawing is made, if not actually impossible, at least highly improbable.
Irregularity does not prove want of Design.71XVII. Let it be here observ’d also, “That a rational Agent may be capable of impressing Force ∥72 without∥ intending to produce any particular Form, and of designedly producing irregular or dissimilar Forms, as well as regular and similar:” And hence it follows, “That altho all the Regularity, Combination and Similarity in the Universe, are Presumptions of Design, yet Irregularity is no Presumption of the contrary; unless we suppose that the Agent is determin’d from a Sense of Beauty always to act regularly, and delight in Similarity; and that he can have no other inconsistent Motive of Action:” Which last is plainly absurd. We do not want in the Universe many Effects which seem to have been left to the general Laws of Motion upon some great Impulse, and have many Instances where Similarity has been ∥73 plainly design’d∥ in some respects, and probably neglected in others; or even Dissimilarity design’d. Thus we see the general exact Resemblance between the two Eyes of most persons; and yet perhaps no other third Eye in the World ∥74 is∥ exactly like them. We see a gross Conformity of shape in all Persons in innumerable Parts, and yet no two Individuals of any Species are undistinguishable; which perhaps is intended for valuable Purposes to the whole Species.
Wisdom, Prudence.75XVIII. Hitherto the Proof amounts only to Design or Intention barely, in opposition to blind Force or Chance; and we see the Proof of this is independent on the arbitrary Constitution of our internal Sense of Beauty. Beauty is often suppos’d an Argument of more than Design, to wit, Wisdom and Prudence in the Cause. Let us enquire also into this.
Wisdom denotes the pursuing of the best Ends by the best Means; and therefore before we can from any Effect prove the Cause to be wise, we must know what is best to the Cause or Agent. Among men who have pleasure in contemplating Uniformity, the Beauty of Effects is an Argument of Wisdom, because this is Good to them; but the same Argument would not hold as to a Being void of this Sense of Beauty. And therefore the Beauty apparent to us in Nature, will not of itself prove Wisdom in the Cause, unless this Cause, or Author of Nature be suppos’d Benevolent; and then indeed the Happiness of Mankind is desirable or Good to the Supreme Cause; and that Form which pleases us, is an Argument of his Wisdom. And the Strength of this Argument is increased always in proportion to the Degree of Beauty produc’d in Nature, and expos’d to the View of any rational ∥76 Agent∥; since upon supposition of a benevolent Deity, all the apparent Beauty produc’d is an Evidence of the Execution of a Benevolent Design, to give ∥77 him∥ the Pleasures of Beauty.
78 But what more immediately proves Wisdom is this; when we see any Machine with a ∥79 vast∥ Complication of Parts actually obtaining an End, we justly conclude, “That since this could not have been the Effect of Chance, it must have been intended for that End, which is obtain’d by it;” and then the Ends or Intentions, being in part known, the Complication of Organs, and their nice Disposition adapted to this End, is an Evidence “of a comprehensive large Understanding in the Cause, according to the Multi-plicity of Parts, and the Appositeness of their Structure, even when we do not know the Intention of the Whole.”
General Causes.80XIX. There is another kind of Beauty ∥81 also which is still pleasing to our Sense, and∥ from which we conclude Wisdom in the Cause as well as Design, ∥82 and that is,∥ when we see many useful or beautiful Effects flowing from one general Cause. There is a very good Reason for this Conclusion among Men. Interest must lead Beings of limited Powers, who are uncapable of a great diversity of Operations, and distracted by them, to chuse this frugal Oeconomy of their Forces, and to look upon such Management as an Evidence of Wisdom in other Beings like themselves. Nor is this speculative Reason all which influences them, for even beside this Consideration of Interest, they are determin’d by a Sense of Beauty where that Reason does not hold; as when we are judging of the Productions of other Agents about whose Oeconomy we are not sollicitous. Thus, who does not approve of it as a Perfection in Clock-work, that three or four Motions of the Hour, Minute, and second Hands, and monthly Plate, should arise from one Spring or Weight, rather than from three, or four Springs, or Weights, in a very Compound Machine, which should perform the same Effects, and answer all the same Purposes with equal exactness? Now the Foundation of this Beauty plainly appears to be ∥83 Uniformity∥ or Unity of Cause amidst Diversity of Effects.
General Laws.84XX. We ∥85 shall* hereafter∥ offer some Reasons, why the Author of Nature ∥86 may∥ chuse to operate in this manner by General Laws and Universal extensive Causes, altho the Reason just now mention’d does not hold with an Almighty Being. This is certain, That we have some of the most delightful Instances of Universal Causes in the Works of Nature, and that the most studious men in these Subjects are so delighted with the Observation of them, that they always look upon them as Evidences of Wisdom in the Administration of Nature, from a Sense of Beauty.
87XXI. The wonderfully simple Mechanism which performs all Animal Motions, was mention’d* already; nor is that of the inanimate Parts of Nature less admirable. How innumerable are the Effects of that one Principle of Heat, deriv’d to us from the Sun, which is not only delightful to our Sight and Feeling, and the Means of discerning Objects, but is the Cause of Rains, Springs, Rivers, Winds, and the universal Cause of Vegetation! The uniform Principle of Gravity preserves at once the Planets in their Orbits, gives Cohesion to the Parts of each Globe, and Stability to Mountains, Hills, and artificial Structures; it raises the Sea in Tides, and sinks them again, and restrains them in their Channels; it drains the Earth of its superfluous Moisture, by Rivers; it raises the Vapours by its Influence on the Air, and brings them down again in Rains; it gives an uniform Pressure to our Atmosphere, necessary to our Bodys in general, and more especially to Inspiration in Breathing; and furnishes us with an universal Movement, capable of being apply’d in innumerable Engines. How incomparably more beautiful is this Structure, than if we suppos’d so many distinct Volitions in the Deity, producing every particular Effect, and preventing some of the accidental Evils which casually flow from the general Law! ∥88 We may rashly imagine that∥ this latter manner of Operation might have been more useful to us; and ∥89 it∥ would have been no distraction to Omnipotence: But then the great Beauty had been lost, and there had been no more Pleasure in the Contemplation of this Scene, which is now so delightful. One would rather chuse to run the hazard of its casual Evils, than part with that harmonious Form which has been ∥90 an∥ unexhausted Source of Delight to the successive Spectators in all Ages.
Miracles.91XXII. Hence we see, “That however Miracles may prove the Superintendency of a voluntary Agent, and that the Universe is not guided by Necessity or Fate, yet that Mind must be weak and inadvertent, which needs them to confirm the Belief of a Wise and Good Deity; since the deviation from general Laws, unless upon very extraordinary Occasions, must be a presumption of Inconstancy and Weakness, rather than of steddy Wisdom and Power, and must weaken the best Arguments we can have for the Sagacity and Power of the universal Mind.”
[* ]∥6aBy undirected Force, or undesigning Force, is to be understood, That Force with which an Agent may put Matter into Motion, without having any Design or Intention to produce any particular Form. ∥7bThis b∥ Conatus ad motum, without an actual Line of Direction, seems such a gross absurdity in the Cartesian Scheme, that it is ∥8cbelow the Dignity of common Sense to vouchsafe to confute itc∥. But Men have so many confus’d Notions of some Nature, or Chance impressing Motions without any Design or Intention of producing any particular Effect, that it may be useful to shew, that even this very absurd Postulatum, tho it were granted them, is insufficient to answer the appearances in the Regularity of the World; and this is what is attempted in the first fourteen Articles of this Section. These Arguments would really be useless, if all Men were persuaded of what to a Man of just Thought will appear pretty Obvious, that there can be no Thought-less Agent; and that Chance and Nature are mere empty Names, as they are us’d on this Occasion, relative only to our Ignorance.a∥
[* ]There is a great Difference between such a Being as is here mention’d, and a Being which has no Intention for any reason whatsoever to produce one Form more than another. This latter sort of Being, as to the present Argument, would be the same with Chance, but not the former. For tho a Being has no sense of Beauty, he may notwithstanding be capable of Design, and of Intention to produce regular Forms; and the observation of greater Regularity in any number of Effects, than could be expected from undirected Force, is a presumption of Design and Intention in the Cause, even where the Cause is suppos’d to have no sense of Beauty in such Forms, since perhaps he may have other Reasons moving him to chuse such Forms. Thus supposing the Deity ∥20 no way necessarily∥ pleas’d with Regularity, Uniformity, or Similarity in Bodys, yet there may be Reasons moving him to produce such Objects, such as the pleasing his Creatures, having given them a sense of Beauty founded on these Qualitys. See the two last Paragraphs of the last Section.
[* ]See above, Art. viii.
[* ]See the last Section.
[* ]See above, Sect. ii. Art. 8.
[1.]A (p. 42): antecedently
[2.]A (p. 42): may possibly
[3.]A (p. 42): do not seem
[4.]C (p. 46), D (p. 46): hereafter
[5.]A (p. 42): possible,
[6.]A (p. 43): This Expression is taken from the Cartesian Scheme, in which the Author of Nature is supposed to have designedly impress’d a general Force or Conatus ad motum upon the Mass of Matter, without any Direction whatsoever. This nonsensical Notion did so much prevail, and men have so many confused Conceptions of Nature and Chance, as real Beings operating without Wisdom or Design, that it may be useful to shew that their very absurd Postulatum is wholly insufficient, tho it were granted them, to answer the Appearances in the Regularity of the World. And this is what is attempted in the first fourteen Articles of this Section.
[7.]B [Errata, p. xxvi], C (p. 47), D (p. 47): The
[8.]D2, D3 [Corrigenda, p. 310]: below our Notice
[9.]Deleted in B [Errata, p. xxvi]. Printed again in C (p. 47), D (p. 47): possible
[10.]Not in A (p. 43).
[11.]A (p. 43): It is also certain that there is
[12.]A (p. 43): may
[13.]A (p. 44): shall be
[14.]A (p. 44): shall
[15.]No new paragraph in A (p. 44).
[16.]A (p. 44): Positions
[17.]A (p. 45): and hence
[18.]Not in A (p. 45).
[19.]A (p. 45): Whereas if different Senses of Beauty be in other Agents,
[20.]C (p. 50), D (p. 50): not immediately
[21.]Omitted in C (p. 50), D (p. 50).
[22.]A (p. 46): offered
[23.]A (p. 46): cubick Inches solid Content
[24.]A (p. 47): that
[25.]A (p. 47): meet
[26.]A (p. 47): Design as producing them,
[27.]A (p. 47): the
[28.]C (p. 51), D (p. 51): not
[29.]A (p. 47): are an infinity of other Forms possible, we could only expect from the casual Concourse of such a Mass as was suppos’d in the last Case, one Prism of any Kind, since there are an Infinity of other Solids possible
[30.]A (p. 47): Presumption for
[31.]A (p. 48): in this Affair but an undirected Force of Attraction suppos’d
[32.]A (p. 48): given to
[33.]A (p. 48): shall
[34.]A (p. 49): even after
[35.]Not in A (p. 49).
[36.]A (p. 50): as is that of
[37.]A (p. 50): do determine
[38.]A (p. 51): might possibly
[39.]D (p. 55): does to
[40.]A (p. 52): are at least still an infinity
[41.]D2, D3 (p. 57): in
[42.]Not in A (p. 53).
[43.]D2, D3 (p. 57): infinites
[44.]D2, D3 (p. 57): arising daily in such Numbers in all Parts of the Earth with such Similarity of Structure, should be the Effect of Chance, is beyond all Conception or Expression.
[45.]Not in A (p. 54).
[46.]C (p. 58), D (p. 58): great
[47.]A (p. 54): like to
[48.]A (p. 54): as it
[49.]Omitted in D2, D3 (p. 58).
[50.]A (p. 55), C (p. 58), D (p. 58): should
[51.]A (p. 55): wrongly numbered 12. The following articles of this section wrongly numbered accordingly.
[52.]A (p. 55): only judge
[53.]Omitted in C (p. 59), D (p. 59).
[54.]C (p. 59), D (p. 59): might be retained
[55.]A (p. 56): numbered 13.
[56.]Not in A (p. 56).
[57.]A (p. 56): shall
[58.]A (p. 56): Minutes perhaps
[59.]A (p. 56): also are
[60.]A (p. 56): varying
[61.]A (p. 57): numbered 14.
[62.]C (p. 61), D (p. 61): sensibly different gross
[63.]Entire article not in A (p. 58). Instruction for addition of the entire paragraph (without numeration) already in Alterations and Additions (pp. 7–8).
[64.]Alterations and Additions (p. 7): further
[65.]Alterations and Additions (p. 7): an
[66.]Alterations and Additions (p. 7): man
[67.]Alterations and Additions (p. 8): 1000 to 1
[68.]C (p. 63), D (p. 63): may
[69.]Alterations and Additions (p. 8): all moral
[70.]Alterations and Additions (p. 8): Art, or Wisdom
[71.]A (p. 58): numbered 15.
[72.]A (p. 58): when he is not
[73.]A (p. 59): designed plainly
[74.]Not in A (p. 59).
[75.]A (p. 59): numbered 16.
[76.]C (p. 65), D (p. 65): Agents
[77.]C (p. 65), D (p. 65): them
[78.]No new paragraph in A (p. 60).
[79.]C (p. 65), D (p. 65): great
[80.]A (p. 61): numbered 17.
[81.]Omitted in C (p. 66), D (p. 66).
[82.]Omitted in C (p. 66), D (p. 66).
[83.]D (p. 67): an Uniformity,
[84.]A (p. 62): numbered 18.
[85.]A (p. 62): may perhaps* afterwards. [Footnote identical.]
[86.]A (p. 62): may possibly
[87.]A (p. 62): numbered 19.
[88.]A (p. 63): And yet
[89.]Not in A (p. 63).
[90.]A (p. 64): the
[91.]A (p. 64): numbered 20.